Sport franchises are challenged to operate within the fast-changing environment of the professional sport industry. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the extent to which these organizations are changing and to understand why some organizations have embraced the competitive strategies and institutional beliefs of their contemporary environment, while others have remained relatively unchanged. The concept of archetypes was used to create two templates for professional sport franchises: The sport-centered archetype and the business-centered archetype. Data were then collected from interviews with representatives of five AAA baseball franchises, documents were retained from the league's public relations firm and the franchises themselves, and information was assembled from newspapers and trade magazines. The results of the research indicated that one organization was in the sport-centered archetype, three were in the business-centered archetype, and one was between the two archetypes. It was found that a trigger for change and the ownership of the franchise impacted heavily on the ability of the franchises to adapt to their contemporary environment.
From Diamonds to Dollars: The Dynamics of Change in AAA Baseball Franchises
Introduction to the Special Issue on Community Sport
Alison Doherty and Laura Cousens
Using Sport Sponsorship to Penetrate Local Markets: The Case of the Fast Food Industry
Laura Cousens and Trevor Slack
Many owners of fast food franchises use sport sponsorship as a means of penetrating their local market area. The purpose of this paper is to examine how these franchisees make decisions about sponsorship requests that allow them to enhance their own position within their local market while at the same time ensuring the consistency and continuity of image that successful fast food chains require. Data were collected from interviews with representatives of 11 fast food companies, from articles in the trade literature, and from company documents. Ranging on a continuum from total franchisee control of decision making to a situation in which the autonomy of the local outlet is eliminated, three approaches to making decisions about sponsoring sport teams and events were identified: the independent approach, the communal approach, and the controlled approach. The structure and corporate culture of the restaurant chain are shown to be significant factors influencing the way decisions about sport sponsorship are made.
Field-Level Change: The Case of North American Major League Professional Sport
Laura Cousens and Trevor Slack
The organizational field encompassing North American major league professional sport changed dramatically over the last quarter century despite the constraining forces associated with this level. Given this, the purpose of this article was to explore the evolution of one organizational field over an extended time period in order to enhance our understanding of the multifaceted nature of its change. Four dimensions of this field were considered for study: communities of actors, their exchange processes, their governance structures, and their beliefs and institutional logics of action. These dimensions were operationalized to provide evidence of the evolution of the organizational field. Data were collected from personal interviews with league and franchise leaders, from documents retrieved from the leagues and Halls of Fame, and from a selection of historical books. The results of this research show increased interaction among the actors in the field, a growing awareness that they were engaged in a common enterprise, and the erosion of the coexisting logics of action prevalent in the field in the early 1970s.
Look Who’s Linked With Whom: A Case Study of One Community Basketball Network
Joanne MacLean, Laura Cousens, and Martha Barnes
The Canadian Sport Policy advocates for increased interaction among sport organizations as a means to create a more efficient and effective system. The purpose of this study was to explore the existence and nature of linkages among a network of community basketball providers. Network theory focuses on the interconnections of organizations by considering the structural, social, and economic bonds of cooperative behavior. Quantitative data were collected via a questionnaire and analyzed using network software UCINET 6 to assess the numbers and types of linkages among a network of community basketball organizations (n = 10) in one geographical region. Next, in-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with leaders from the organizations and from their provincial/national governing bodies (n = 11) to assess the barriers to linkages among these organizations. Results indicated a loosely coupled network, wherein issues of power and dependence, uncertainty, and the lack of managerial structures to initiate and manage linkages prevailed.
Sport Delivery in a Highly Socialized Environment: A Case Study of Embeddedness
Laura Cousens and Martha L. Barnes
The social embeddedness of economic interaction has emerged at the forefront of economic sociology over the last 15 years. In the context of sport, however, little research has been undertaken to enhance our understanding of how the socialized context surrounding sport organizers, local governments, and corporate sponsors impact decisions affecting sport delivery. Therefore, the purpose of this case study is to explore the social embeddedness of decision makers in sport organizations and the local government that shape sport delivery in one community. An embedded perspective of economic interactions considers the continuity of relationships that generate particular behaviors, norms, and expectations. In-depth interviews with the leaders of this community’s sport organizations and the members of its local government were undertaken to gain insight into the nature of how decisions pertaining to sport delivery were shaped and constrained by the social context in which they were bounded. The results of this research suggest that the informal interaction among community leaders in sport and politics served to inhibit change in the way sport programs were delivered in this community. Further, taken for granted assumptions of city leaders about the type, number, and quality of sports delivered to the residents resulted in fewer opportunities for sport participation, despite an awareness of the limitations of the existing programs.